Tuesday 17 October 2017

Family of hit-and-run victim complain to Garda ombudsman

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

THE grieving family of a young trainee barrister killed in a hit-and-run have lodged a complaint with the Garda ombudsman.

The family of Shane Farrell (23) claim the gardai "failed utterly" in their case to bring his killer to justice.

Mr Farrell, of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, died instantly after being struck by a vehicle on the N2 Dublin to Derry road between Carrickmacross and Castleblaney on August 2, 2011.

Lithuanian national Zigimantas Gridzuiska (39) went on trial at the Circuit Criminal Court last month, charged with dangerous driving causing death. However, the trial judge ordered the jury to find him not guilty because of a lack of evidence.

But Gridzuiska had admitted failing to stop his car at the scene of the accident, failing to keep the car near the scene of this accident, failing to report this accident as soon as possible to gardai, and also of driving a vehicle in a dangerously defective condition on the day of the accident. Judge Pat McCartan imposed an eight-month sentence but suspended it on agreement that he left Ireland within 21 days.

Lenient

But Gridzuiska appeared before Carrickmacross District Court on March 7, charged with driving without valid insurance and was jailed for five months.

The victim's mother Lucia Farrell told the Irish Independent that the fact that no one has served one day in prison over her son's death has left her family devastated.

She says they have not been informed by the authorities whether Gridzuiska's eight-month sentence will be reactivated, since he has not been in a position to leave Ireland in line with Judge McCartan's orders.

However, a legal source said it was likely that Gridzuiska could opt to leave the country immediately on release after serving the five-month term, to avoid reactivating the other sentence.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said it would not be appropriate for the minister to comment. However, the spokesman noted that the DPP has a statutory power to refer the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal if it considers a sentence was too lenient.

Ms Farrell confirmed that the family had filed a complaint with the Garda ombudsman.

She claimed gardai allowed Gridzuiska to drive for at least six years without valid insurance since he did not disclose a string of previous convictions in another jurisdiction to the insurance firm.

"My son's death was avoidable," she said.

"This man should never have been on the road."

Ms Farrell has also called for a public inquiry into her son's death.

Irish Independent

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